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More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice

Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump’s Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say

The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia.

The special counsel who finished the investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, secured three dozen indictments and convictions of some top Trump advisers, and he produced a report that outlined Russia’s wide-ranging operations to help get Mr. Trump elected and the president’s efforts to impede the inquiry.

But law enforcement officials never fully investigated Mr. Trump’s own relationship with Russia, even though some career F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators thought his ties posed such a national security threat that they took the extraordinary step of opening an inquiry into them. Within days, the former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere.

Rosenstein limited the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. We live in a banana republic and have been for some time now. :unamused:


This utterly blows their “no collusion” cry out of the water. The fact that the investigation was interfered with shows there was something to hide.





Twitter slaps ‘manipulated media’ tag on video shared by Scalise that alters activist’s question to Biden

Twitter on Sunday flagged a manipulated clip posted by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) that alters a question from activist Ady Barkan to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The clip is included in a video the House’s No. 2 Republican tweeted that accuses Democrats of fomenting and encouraging violent unrest. “No police. Mob rule. Total chaos. That’s the result of the Democrat agenda,” Scalise tweeted.

In the initial interview, Barkan, who uses a computerized artificial voice due to his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, asks Biden if “we agree that we can redirect some of the funding” for police departments toward public safety and mental health services. “Yes,” Biden responds.

The clip Scalise tweeted, however, inserts the words “for police” into Barkan’s question using the same computer-generated voice.

Biden has repeatedly come out against the movement to defund the police. Barkan, who also uses a wheelchair, endorsed Biden in July and asked him about the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks.

Barkan called on Scalise to remove the video, tweeting, “I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts. You and your team have doctored my words for your own political gain. Please remove this video immediately. You owe the entire disability community an apology.”

Liz Jaff, who co-founded the Be a Hero PAC with Barkan, also condemned the video, tweeting that “to change his words like this is horrific.”

A representative for Barkan referred The Hill to his tweet. The Hill has reached out to Scalise’s office for comment.


Appeals court keeps Flynn case alive, won’t order dismissal - and they are holding the line those judges. Nope, it’s not being dismissed (for now.)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A **federal appeals court in Washington declined Monday to order the dismissal of the Michael Flynn** prosecution, permitting a judge to scrutinize the Justice Department’s request to dismiss its case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser.

The decision keeps the case at least temporarily alive and rebuffs efforts by both Flynn’s lawyers and the Justice Department to force the prosecution to be dropped without any further inquiry from the judge, who has for months declined to dismiss it. The ruling represents the latest development in a criminal case that has taken unusual twists and turns over the last year and prompted a separation of powers tussle involving a veteran federal judge and the Trump administration.


Delays for NY DA Cy Vance

Article from last month

Judge Green-Lights Probe of Trump Tax Returns in NY

Maybe I need to move to Questionable behavior plz… @Pet_Proletariat @MissJava…does not belong here. :grin:Thx!


@Keaton_James I thought of you when I read this. We miss your sleuthing!

Justice Department zeroing in on longtime GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy


New head of VOA David Pack is rooting out anti-Trump bias.

Voice Of America Journalists Protest Trump Appointee’s Actions : NPR

FOLKENFLIK: Interviews with 18 current and former staffers at the agency and the Voice of America suggest Pack would very much like to influence the reporting there. Most of those who spoke for this story declined to be named, saying they feared for their jobs. They say Pack has been seeking evidence of anti-Trump bias. Shawn Powers was, until recently, the agency’s chief strategy officer.

SHAWN POWERS: What we’re seeing now is the step-by-step and wholescale dismantling of the institutions that protect the independence and the integrity of our journalism.

FOLKENFLIK: Powers was among those officials sidelined last month by Pack.

POWERS: What’s at stake is the entirety of the credibility of the Voice of America, credibility that has been built up over decades and has ensured that VOA is a well-respected institution around the world for objective and balanced news - and in particular in countries and markets where there are no objective sources of information.


Trump presses Barr (again) to target his enemies before election

Under normal circumstances, this would be a presidency-defining moment. Because of what’s become of our politics, this was a relatively normal Tuesday.

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump sat down with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo and the president threw a bit of a tantrum about his perceived enemies “spying on his campaign” in 2016, which he insisted constituted “treason” and “the crime of the century.” None of this reflected reality in any meaningful way.

But it was the next part of his tantrum that mattered more: Trump added that he doesn’t want Attorney General William Barr to be “politically correct” – a phrase the president clearly does not understand the meaning of – before publicly pressing the Republican lawyer to target his perceived political enemies before Election Day.

“Bill Barr has the chance to be the greatest of all time, but if he wants to be politically correct, he’ll be just another guy, because he knows all the answers, he knows what they have, and it goes right to Obama and it goes right to Biden,” Trump said.

All of this was, to be sure, ridiculous. And yet, in his latest interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, the president made eerily similar comments:

“Bill Barr can go down as the greatest attorney general in the history of our country or he can go down as just another guy. It depends. They have all the stuff – you don’t need anything else. You know, they want everything. You don’t need anything else. They all lied to Congress. They were liars. They were cheaters. They were treasonous. There was treason.”

The host asked, “Bill Barr, you’re saying, has to prosecute all of these individuals to be a great attorney general?”

Trump replied, “Well, look, I’ll let you know about that.”

The president didn’t specify who, exactly, he wants Barr to prosecute in order to be “the greatest attorney general in the history of our country,” but as part of the on-air harangue, Trump referenced former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe by name.

Circling back to our earlier coverage, the conspiracy theory the president keeps describing is folly. No one spied on his campaign. His perceived enemies did not commit treason. No one in the Obama White House, U.S. intelligence agencies, or federal law enforcement committed “the crime of the century.”

But let’s not miss the forest for the trees: the point of the president’s little on-air tantrum was to press his attorney general: Trump said in order for Barr to be “the greatest of all time,” the president expects the Republican attorney to go after Trump’s perceived enemies post haste.

In other words, Americans heard a sitting president tell a national broadcast audience that his foes are guilty of treason, and he expects the Justice Department to use the levers of power to target his enemies shortly before an election.

I continue to believe that under normal circumstances, this would be a presidency-defining moment. Because of what’s become of our politics, this was a relatively normal Tuesday. These comments did not cause much of a stir.

That’s partly the result of the nation growing accustomed to Trump’s abuses and corruption. Indeed, the Mueller Report documented multiple instances in which the president tried to dictate a Justice Department investigation into Hillary Clinton.

But the fact that this has become one of the scandalous staples of Trump’s term doesn’t make his antics any less outrageous.


Yes, Broidy should have been locked up long ago, but glad to see investigations are ongoing. Maddow featured an insightful segment on him last night (Sept. 1).

Hope you are all doing well. I’m writing post cards to get out the vote in swing states – the organization I’ve been volunteering for is . Great outfit.

Can you believe that the first votes in this election will be cast in just a few days?! North Carolina is sending out absentee ballots on Friday! Here’s a handy list of when each state is mailing out ballots:

And here’s an in-depth article about some of the key races in swing-state North Carolina. Currently, the Presidential and Senate races there are both a dead heat.


Oh you know, just hanging in there. :slight_smile: Thanks for the recommendation, sounds like a fantastic pandemic safe activity.


Yes, Broidy has been ‘cooked’ for a while, and glad they are bringing charges now…

Nice to see a glimpse of you, @Keaton_James and getting your input. I too! have been working with and have been writing to swing states…FL so far. Great outfit.

It’s been a crazy everything…here’s to hanging tough, and getting the :ocean: blue wave optimized again.



Trump Moves to Cut Federal Funding From Democratic Cities

President Trump has directed federal officials to find ways to cut funding to a string of cities controlled by Democrats, citing violence amid protests against systemic racism in policing, a move that threatens billions of dollars for many of the country’s largest urban hubs as the president makes the unrest a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

Mr. Trump laid out the directive in a memo, released Wednesday, to Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Attorney General William P. Barr. It accuses state and local officials of abdicating their duties.

“Anarchy has recently beset some of our states and cities,” Mr. Trump wrote in the memo, mentioning a few cities specifically: Portland, Ore.; Washington; Seattle; and the president’s birth city, New York. “My administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones.”

With polls showing him trailing his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Trump has tried to shift the public’s attention away from his administration’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic and to what he depicts as out-of-control crime in New York and other cities. He has seized on an uptick in crime and has tried to blame it on local Democratic leaders.

The president has repeatedly sought to paint cities as hellscapes that only he can save, regardless of how limited the violent outbreaks have been during broader protests against acts of brutality by police officers against Black people.


WTF…blocking local authority, and having the Federal government oversee what should happen in terms of quelling violence. Insert ‘campaign slogan LAW and ORDER’ here, and OVERREACH.

White House orders review aimed at blocking federal funding from places Trump labels ‘anarchist jurisdictions’

New five-page memo says Portland, Ore.; Seattle; D.C.; and New York City should face particular scrutiny

President Trump on Wednesday approved a memo that the White House said is intended to begin restricting federal funding from going to certain Democratic-led cities that the administration determines to be “anarchist jurisdictions,” aiming to levy an extraordinary attack on political opponents just months ahead of the 2020 election.

In a five-page memo, the president directs the White House Office of Management and Budget to give guidance to federal agencies on restricting funding to cities that “defund” their police departments. The memo also directs the Justice Department within 14 days to come up with a list of localities that qualify as “anarchist jurisdictions” and post that list publicly. Trump has said there is a wide-ranging Democratic plot to defund police departments, although most prominent Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, have adamantly rejected this approach.

My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” the president’s memo states. “It is imperative that the Federal Government review the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America’s cities.”


Trump suggests that North Carolina voters should test mail-in system by trying to vote twice

So he told them to go commit a felony to “test the system.”


More alarming pronouncements - supply chain issues for the ballot to get through the USPS system.

"With the dramatic increase of ballots compared to previous elections, in some cases a tenfold increase in the number of ballots in some states, there are some issues in the supply chain,” a senior USPS official informed the group, which consisted of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and other senior USPS officials.

The official was referring to the process by which approved manufacturers produce ballots, and other vital election mail, to state election officials to distribute to voters. “Some of these printers… just don’t have the capacity they were used to in prior elections,” the official said.

Speaking about deadlines for requesting mail-in ballots that Postal officials worry fall too close to Election Day to be counted, another official was blunt with the group: “Despite the heroic efforts I know you guys will pursue to get that ballot in the hands of voters, the reality is, that’s going to be a difficult situation for that voter to have their vote counted.

At least one USPS official who attended the task force meeting told The Daily Beast they considered USPS leadership’s warnings of supply-chain disruption ahead of the balloting to be a cover for leadership’s failures.

Issues with the ballot and election mail supply chain ultimately fall to state election officials, said David Partenheimer, a spokesperson for the Postal Service, though he added the agency “does work to assist and educate ballot producers in their mail piece design.”

The Postal Service will continue with these efforts, but it is unrelated to the Postal Service’s complete readiness to deliver any Election Mail that is presented to us, and we will do so in a timely and secure manner consistent with our longstanding processes and procedures that we have utilized for years,” said Partenheimer.


The real lawless extremist in the race is Trump. And he has William Barr’s help.

How can it be that the nation’s chief law enforcement officer is openly supporting President Trump’s most flagrantly lawless efforts to corrupt the election? The easy answer: Attorney General William P. Barr is party to Trump’s scheme to maintain power via illicit means if necessary, and is corrupt enough to employ his power over law enforcement toward that end.

But there’s another, equally disturbing answer to this question, one rooted in a deeper worldview articulated by Barr and even by Trump himself: The idea that the political enemy is so ruthless and existentially threatening that employing extraordinary and extralegal means to crush that enemy is justified.

Barr gave a shocking interview to CNN late Wednesday that left zero doubt about his intentions. Barr refused to denounce Trump’s suggestion that people should try to illegally vote twice (by mail and in person), supposedly to test vote-by-mail’s validity. Trump brazenly repeated this on Thursday.

Barr also repeated his frequent claims that vote-by-mail elections have been riddled with fraud and that a foreign power could fabricate thousands of mail ballots. Both are utter nonsense. But in saying them, Barr is telegraphing his willingness to legitimize Trump’s eventual effort to try to invalidate untold numbers of mail ballots, which Trump has already told us is coming.

Sign up for The Odds newsletter for election updates from data columnist David Byler

Meanwhile, Barr is party to another extraordinary move: Trump just approved a memo declaring the intention to restrict federal funding to Democratic-led cities designated as “anarchist jurisdictions.” Barr will determine which cities earn this label.

This is being widely denounced as illegal, and it may go nowhere. But let’s focus on its stated rationale: A city will be designated as such if it has “permitted violence and the destruction of property” and “forbids the police force from intervening to restore order.”

The idea that these officials have deliberately allowed violence and restrained police from restoring order is crucial. In reality, officials are working amid extremely complex, fast-moving conditions to balance the restoration of order and public safety with respect for civil liberties and peaceful assembly, while (ideally) avoiding abuse of the awesome powers of state violence.

Sometimes this fails, with tragic consequences that run in both directions. But this isn’t a mere choice between “restoring order” and “choosing to allow maximum disorder to run rampant.” This is even true in Seattle, Wash., where the police-free zone was an attempt at a good-faith mediated solution to getting this balance right that got scrapped when it became untenable.

But the obliteration of these complexities is central to the larger argument that Barr — and Trump, in his un-intellectually grounded way — is making.

A declaration of war on ‘the left’

Trump’s reelection case is premised on not just on the idea that Joe Biden and Democrats are too weak to control leftist violence. It’s also that they are willingly allowing those forces to run rampant, in the full knowledge that they are out to destroy the very possibility of civil society itself.

Both Trump and Barr have delivered major speeches spelling out this worldview. Commemorating Independence Day, Trump likened his own struggle against “the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists” to the struggle to defeat fascism in World War II.

Trump is at war with the left, to rescue civil society itself. He recently declared: “We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country.”

For his part, Barr, speaking to the Federalist Society last November, infamously declared that “it is the left” that poses the true threat to the “rule of law,” through a “scorched earth, no-holds barred” war against Trump.

Barr also voiced support for a strong executive, unshackled by oversight and legal nitpicking, declaring that it has delivered glory at moments of great national struggle against fascism, communism and “Islamic fascism,” which elevates the war on terror into an epic civilizational showdown. As Laura Field details, Barr belongs to a movement of “reocons,” or authoritarian reactionary conservatives.

Indeed, Barr is drawing on a long tradition of “anti-liberalism,” which is hostile to liberal democracy in part precisely because it doesn’t cast politics as a perpetual emergency struggle against an overarching enemy, and instead values proceduralism and compromise, which sap the moral will and decisiveness of the polity.

Barr did not explicitly declare the war against the left akin to the war with fascism. But Trump has. And by labeling the left an existential threat to the rule of law alongside a paean to the glory of the executive unfettered at times of crisis, he creeps right up to the precipice of this claim.

The real lawless extremist is Trump

Yes, Barr sometimes mouths pieties about the Constitution. But as Tamsin Shaw points out, this is hollow: For Barr, the executive unbound to exert the will of the (selectively imagined) polity amid crisis is an ideal , a justification to support “lawlessness,” in this case, Trump’s.

In our current moment, that crisis has to be invented or largely exaggerated to justify that lawlessness: The left is the real threat to the rule of law. Democratic officials struggling to balance profoundly difficult competing imperatives are deliberately encouraging civil breakdown.

So what Trump and Barr are doing is grounded in a worldview of sorts. But their ideas are extreme and based on fabrications, and they’re being used to justify Trump’s attacks on the very possibility of civil society.

To wit: Barr will rely on the specter of purely fake mail-vote criminality to legitimize Trump’s invalidation of countless mail ballots to illicitly hold power. Barr will help Trump use fabricated claims about “anarchist” cities to punish them with the state.

Meanwhile, Barr will help delegitimize an official accounting of foreign sabotage of the 2016 election to create cover for another round of it on Trump’s behalf. Barr’s grotesque exaggerations of the leftist threat help give Trump justification for urging right-wing vigilantes to take matters into their own hands, lawlessly.

So let’s be clear on who the real lawless extremists are here. They aren’t Biden and Democrats. They’re Trump and his enablers.

Barr says voting by mail is ‘playing with fire’

Barr carries Trump’s election-fraud water with a smile


Louis DeJoy’s rise as GOP fundraiser was powered by contributions from company workers who were later reimbursed, former employees say.

Louis DeJoy’s prolific campaign fundraising, which helped position him as a top Republican power broker in North Carolina and ultimately as head of the U.S. Postal Service, was bolstered for more than a decade by a practice that left many employees feeling pressured to make political contributions to GOP candidates — money DeJoy later reimbursed through bonuses, former employees say.

Five people who worked for DeJoy’s former business, New Breed Logistics, say they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by the chief executive himself to write checks and attend fundraisers at his 15,000-square-foot gated mansion beside a Greensboro, N.C., country club. There, events for Republicans running for the White House and Congress routinely fetched $100,000 or more apiece.

Two other employees familiar with New Breed’s financial and payroll systems said DeJoy would instruct that bonus payments to staffers be boosted to help defray the cost of their contributions, an arrangement that would be unlawful.

“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” said David Young, DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013 and is now retired. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”

Another former employee with knowledge of the process described a similar series of events, saying DeJoy orchestrated additional compensation for employees who had made political contributions, instructing managers to award bonuses to specific individuals.

“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’ ” said the former employee, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution from DeJoy.

In response to a series of detailed questions from The Washington Post, Monty Hagler, a spokesman for DeJoy, said the former New Breed chief executive was not aware that any employees had felt pressured to make donations.

After repeatedly being asked, Hagler did not directly address the assertions that DeJoy reimbursed workers for making contributions, pointing to a statement in which he said DeJoy “believes that he has always followed campaign fundraising laws and regulations.”

Hagler said DeJoy “sought and received legal advice” from a former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission “to ensure that he, New Breed Logistics and any person affiliated with New Breed fully complied with any and all laws. Mr. DeJoy believes that all campaign fundraising laws and regulations should be complied with in all respects.”

He added that DeJoy “encouraged employees and family members to be active in their communities, schools, churches, civic groups, sporting events and the politics that governs our nation.”

“Mr. DeJoy was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason,” he added.

A Washington Post analysis of federal and state campaign finance records found a pattern of extensive donations by New Breed employees to Republican candidates, with the same amount often given by multiple people on the same day. Between 2000 and 2014, 124 individuals who worked for the company together gave more than $1 million to federal and state GOP candidates. Many had not previously made political donations, and have not made any since leaving the company, public records show. During the same period, nine employees gave a combined $700 to Democrats.

Although it can be permissible to encourage employees to make donations, reimbursing them for those contributions is a violation of North Carolina and federal election laws. Known as a straw-donor scheme, the practice allows donors to evade individual contribution limits and obscures the true source of money used to influence elections.

Such federal violations carry a five-year statute of limitations. There is no statute of limitations in North Carolina for felonies, including campaign finance violations.

The former employees who spoke to The Post all described donations they gave between 2003 and 2014, the year New Breed was acquired by a Connecticut-based company called XPO Logistics. DeJoy remained at XPO briefly in a leadership role, then retired at the end of 2015. By a year after the sale, several New Breed employees who had stayed on with XPO were giving significantly smaller political contributions and many stopped making them altogether, campaign finance records show.

In a statement, XPO spokesman Joe Checkler said the company “stays out of politics but our employees have the same individual right as anyone else to support candidates of their choosing in their free time. When they do so, we expect them to adhere strictly to the rules.”

The accounts of DeJoy’s former employees, which have not been previously reported, come as his brief tenure so far at the helm of the U.S. Postal Service has been marked by tumult. After his appointment in May, he swiftly instituted changes he said were aimed at cutting costs, leading to a reduction of overtime and limits on mail trips that postal carriers said created backlogs across the country.

Democrats have accused DeJoy, who has personally given more than $1.1 million to Trump Victory, the joint fundraising vehicle of the president’s reelection campaign and the Republican Party, of seeking to hobble the Postal Service because of the president’s antipathy to voting by mail. As states have expanded access to mail voting because of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has repeatedly attacked the practice and claimed without evidence that it will lead to rampant fraud.

The Postal Service chief emphasized to House lawmakers last month that the agency will prioritize election mail. Responding to questions about his fundraising, DeJoy scoffed. “Yes, I am a Republican. . . . I give a lot of money to Republicans.” But he pushed back fiercely on accusations that he was seeking to undermine the November vote. “I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” DeJoy said. “We will do everything in our power and structure to deliver the ballots on time.”

During his testimony, DeJoy was asked by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) if he had repaid executives for making donations to the Trump campaign.

“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it. . . . The answer is no,” DeJoy responded angrily.

DeJoy had retired from XPO management by 2016. He hosted Trump at his Greensboro estate, known locally as The Castle, for a birthday party and fundraiser in June 2016.

Earlier this year, DeJoy was leading fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte when he was selected by the Postal Service’s Board of Governors in May.

DeJoy was not originally on a list of prospective candidates for the job, Robert M. Duncan, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, told House lawmakers in testimony last month. Duncan, a longtime GOP fundraiser, said he submitted DeJoy’s name as a candidate after his “interest, or availability, became known to me.”

A pattern of requests

Multiple New Breed employees said DeJoy’s ascent in Republican politics was powered in part by his ability to multiply his fundraising through his company, describing him as a chief executive who was single-minded in his focus on increasing his influence in the GOP.

In his office, DeJoy prominently displayed pictures of himself with former president George W. Bush; Sen. John McCain, who died in 2018; former New Jersey governor Chris Christie; former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and others, according to former employees.

Several employees said DeJoy reveled in the access his fundraising afforded him.

At a local PGA tournament sponsored by New Breed, he played alongside top North Carolina Republicans such as then-Gov. Pat McCrory and Sen. Richard Burr, according to schedules posted online. “He always had to be the guy in the golf cart with the politicians,” said one person who worked with him who attended the tournaments.

As DeJoy’s profile as a Republican bundler grew, his wife, Aldona Wos, won presidential and gubernatorial appointments — first as an ambassador to Estonia in 2004, then as head of North Carolina’s health and human services agency in 2013. Trump appointed her in May 2017 to serve on the president’s commission on White House fellowships, and earlier this year, he nominated her to be ambassador to Canada.

DeJoy and trusted aides at the company made clear that he wanted employees to support his endeavors — through emails inviting employees to fundraisers, follow-up calls and visits to staffers’ desks, many said.

“He would put pressure on the executives over each of the areas to go to their employees and give contributions,” one former employee said.

While some employees told The Post that they were happy to make the donations, others said they felt little choice, saying DeJoy had a heavy-handed demeanor and a reputation for angering easily.

Plant managers at New Breed said they received strongly worded admonitions from superiors that they should give money when DeJoy was holding fundraisers. A program manager said that when he was handed his first company bonus, a New Breed vice president told him he should buy a ticket to DeJoy’s next fundraiser.

Several employees said New Breed often distributed large bonuses of five figures or higher. Bonuses did not usually correlate with the exact amount of political contributions, but were large enough to account for both performance payments and donations, according to the two people with knowledge of company finances.

Five former employees said DeJoy’s executive assistant, Heather Clarke, personally called senior staffers, checking on whether executives were coming to fundraisers and collecting checks for candidates.

Clarke, who now works alongside DeJoy at the Postal Service as his chief of staff, did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Phone messages left with Clarke’s husband were returned Friday by Hagler, who said she would have no comment.

Clarke was among several nonexecutive employees who gave substantial political donations, public records show: She alone contributed $47,000 from 2002 to 2014. Clarke has continued to donate since then, but at about half the annual rate as when she worked at New Breed.

Another longtime senior official in DeJoy’s company, Joe Hauck, also routinely contacted company employees urging them to contribute, former workers said.

In an interview, Hauck denied that the company reimbursed New Breed employees for political contributions. He said he never received any bonuses for that purpose, nor was he offered any. “That’s illegal — you can’t do that,” said Hauck, who was vice president for sales, marketing and communications when the company was sold.

Hauck did acknowledge approaching employees and asking them to contribute, but disputed that he pressured anyone.

“I created a list of people that had indicated that they were interested. And whenever there was an event coming up, I would let them know about the event and they would either say, ‘Yeah, I want to participate’ or ‘No, I don’t,’ ” he said.

Hauck said he sometimes did collect checks for candidates in the office, but only because some employees “happened to have their checkbooks on them.”

Another manager also said he was not aware of employees being reimbursed, but acknowledged that workers were asked to make donations.

William Church, a former New Breed vice president, said he handed out many bonuses to his employees in the company’s aerospace division and never had knowledge of such payments being connected to political contributions. He said bonus targets in his division were rigid and well-established.

Church, who donated over $21,000 to Republican candidates while at New Breed and said he received substantial bonuses, said he never felt pressured to make the contributions and was never reimbursed for them. “Ask my wife, boy, she would have loved that,” Church said.

Asked whether he believed employees could have felt pressure to attend fundraisers, Church responded: “Now, what’s in somebody’s heart when they’re doing it, when the CEO invites you to one of these things and they think, ‘Oh, I should do that?’ — I don’t know.”

Steve Moore, who took a job as plant manager of a New Breed facility in Bolingbrook, Ill., in 2007, said he felt pressured to contribute just a few months into his job. DeJoy sent managers an email announcing a fundraising event at his house for former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, then a candidate for president.

Moore said his manager, Philip Meyer, soon followed up, telling him that making a contribution was “highly recommended,” even if he would not attend.

“I took that to mean my job is on the line here, or things won’t go smooth for me here at New Breed if I didn’t contribute,” Moore said in an interview. He donated $250. “I didn’t really agree with what was going on,” he said. Moore said he was terminated in 2008 after a dispute with his supervisors.

In a text message, Meyer declined to comment.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of donations from New Breed employees has been GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, whose campaign committees collected nearly $300,000 from people at the company in 2014, campaign finance records show.

When asked for comment on the accounts of employees who said they were pressured to donate to DeJoy’s favored candidates, Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for Tillis’s campaign, said in an email: “Neither Senator Tillis nor our campaign had knowledge of these findings.”

‘You feel the pressure’

DeJoy did not always seem destined for a life as an influential GOP power broker. As a young man in New York working at his father’s trucking business, DeJoy donated to Democrats, including the party’s 1988 presidential nominee, Michael Dukakis, according to federal campaign finance filings.

After his marriage to Wos, a physician born in Poland who emigrated to New York as a child, DeJoy followed her into conservative politics.

Under DeJoy, New Breed expanded from trucking to logistics, managing delivery and returns of the first iPhones sold by Verizon, airplane parts for Boeing and Disney merchandise, including shipments of MagicBands, employees said.

By the late 1990s, as the family business flourished, thanks in part to contracts with the U.S. Postal Service, DeJoy moved New Breed to North Carolina — and closer to the work it was doing repositioning mail crates, folding mail bags, and other logistical work that the government had begun to outsource.

The move provided new political opportunities for the couple. Wos embraced North Carolina Republican politics and, by the early 2000s, was stepping into national campaigns. She helped lead fundraising efforts in the state for Elizabeth Dole’s 2002 Senate run, and then for Bush’s reelection campaign, according to campaign statements and news articles from the time.

DeJoy began to marshal his resources to support GOP candidates, as well. On one day in February 2002, DeJoy donated $50,000 to a Republican Party fund supporting Bush’s campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. Another $10,000 came from DeJoy’s brother, Michael, who worked then for New Breed in New York. Another 10 New Breed employees also chipped in $1,000 each that day to Bush, and another $900 or $1,000 each to Dole, campaign finance data show.

In response to a request to Wos for comment, Hagler said, “Dr. Wos had her own career, and she was not involved with New Breed Logistics.”

Young, the retired director of human resources, said it was during the 2004 Bush reelection campaign that he saw DeJoy begin to “take advantage” of his power as CEO to move money for politics.

“No one was ever forced to or lost a job because they didn’t, but if people contributed, their raises and their bonuses were bumped up to accommodate that,” said Young, who gave more than $19,000 in donations while he worked at New Breed.

Ted Le Jeune, a New Breed project manager in North Carolina, said he made a $500 contribution to the Bush campaign in November 2003 after DeJoy took him aside for a discussion in a conference room about donating.

“I was of the same political orientation, so it was not coerced in any way and there was no quid pro quo,” Le Jeune said in an interview. Le Jeune said he has not donated to any political campaign since then.

In 2002, DeJoy and New Breed employees contributed more than $87,000 to support Dole, and before the 2004 presidential election, more than $121,000 to Bush.

Wos was named a Bush “Ranger,” an honorary term for those who delivered at least $200,000 for the Texan’s reelection bid. In a recess appointment before the election, Bush appointed her ambassador to Estonia, a post she held for two years.

Freddy Ford, a spokesman for Bush, declined to comment. Wos did not respond to a request for comment about her appointment.

By 2007, DeJoy was carving his own path politically. With Giuliani leading in early polls for the Republican nomination for president, DeJoy signed on as co-chair of the former mayor’s North Carolina finance committee.

New Breed employees quickly followed.

DeJoy kicked off his fundraising effort by inviting a group of senior New Breed executives who had previously donated to Republicans while at the company to contribute, according to one of those who wrote a check. Campaign finance records show that New Breed employees gave Giuliani’s campaign more than $27,000 in one day.

Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.

Less than a month later, when Giuliani made a swing through North Carolina, DeJoy invited a broader group of New Breed employees to contribute and take part in a fundraiser, according to people familiar with his outreach. The second effort netted about $40,000 from employees, campaign finance records show.

Moore, the plant director in Illinois, said he received the email inviting employees to give — and he donated reluctantly.

Another middle manager at another New Breed facility said he received the solicitation, too, as well as encouragement in person from Meyer during a plant visit.

“He would come to me and say, ‘Louis is having this thing, and he really wants all the managers there, and you need to contribute,’ ” said the former employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying he fears DeJoy could sue him.

The former employee said he recalled Meyer saying that not contributing was “not going to have any bearing on your job.”

But he worried that the reverse was true, he said. “You feel the pressure. They tell you it’s not there, and then they put it on you,” he said.

In the North Carolina headquarters, Joel Shepard, who had joined New Breed as director of transportation after stints at Ryder and UPS, said he got a call from Clarke, DeJoy’s executive assistant, making sure Shepard knew that he, too, was invited.

Shepard had never donated to a political candidate before, and he wrote a check for $1,000. He said he did not feel pressured, however. He said he admired Giuliani and “wanted to do it.”

Shepard said he still recalls the donation because he mistakenly wrote the check from an account that was low on funds and it bounced. Clarke, DeJoy’s executive assistant, “came to me and said, ‘Joel, your check bounced.’ I had to write her another one,” he recalled.

In all, dozens of New Breed employees contributed more than $85,000 to Giuliani’s campaign during the primary, including a $16,000 in excess contributions that the campaign returned after Giuliani dropped his bid because multiple employees gave identical contributions that were twice the legal limit.

The only other GOP presidential contender to receive donations from New Breed employees during that year’s primary was Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, campaign finance records show. Together, two employees gave him about $550.

Expanding influence

After Giuliani’s campaign faltered, DeJoy pivoted and put his energy into backing the 2008 McCain-Palin ticket, organizing and hosting multiple fundraisers over the next year. Again, New Breed employees followed. Along with DeJoy, they contributed more than $180,000, FEC records show.

Four years later, an additional $193,000 flowed from DeJoy and other New Breed employees to the 2012 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, now a U.S. senator from Utah.

Before the 2012 election, more than $170,000 in contributions from DeJoy and New Breed employees would also go to help lift McCrory to the North Carolina governor’s mansion, state campaign finance records show.

The following month, McCrory named Wos, DeJoy’s wife and a retired physician, as his choice for state health secretary.

In an interview, McCrory said Wos’s appointment had no connection to campaign contributions he received. “She was the most qualified person and I had to beg her to take the job,” he said.

Told of The Post’s findings, McCrory said: “I’m not aware of any of these claims.”

During her tenure, Wos drew scrutiny from Democrats after awarding a $310,000 state contract to Hauck, the New Breed employee who colleagues said had urged them to support DeJoy’s fundraising efforts.

At the time, Wos defended her pick, saying Hauck worked on a major restructuring of the department’s bureaucracy.

Hauck said he took a pay cut by going on leave from New Breed to work for Wos for 11 months. “I looked at it as serving,” he said in an interview.

By 2013, Warburg Pincus, a New York-based private-equity firm that had acquired a controlling stake in New Breed eight years earlier, had begun agitating for the company to go public or find another way to return value to its investors, according to three former New Breed employees with knowledge of the company’s finances. News articles in subsequent months quoted people familiar with the company saying Warburg was exploring a sale.

DeJoy tested the market for an initial public offering, filing a confidential draft prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to correspondence detailing concerns about the offering flagged by the SEC, which remain archived on the agency’s website.

As the agency began scrutinizing the company’s finances, the SEC appeared to question a lack of information about New Breed executive bonuses and how the company decided they had met their goals for the payments in the previous year. “Please disclose the target and how the target was met or not met or advise,” the SEC’s accounting branch chief wrote in a June 2013 letter to DeJoy. It is unclear whether or how the company responded.

Ultimately, New Breed did not go public. Instead, Warburg Pincus sold it to XPO Logistics the following year for $615 million, according to company announcements and SEC records.

A spokeswoman for Warburg Pincus declined to comment.

The month the deal closed, New Breed employees made a slew of political donations in a two-day period — more than $407,000. Almost three-quarters of that went to support Tillis’s Senate bid.

Clarke, Hauck and DeJoy were among 10 New Breed employees who led the giving. On Sept. 29, each gave identical donations of $12,600 to the Thom Tillis Victory Committee, campaign finance data shows. The next day, the same 10 employees each gave $10,000 to the North Carolina Republican Party.

Since then, five of those individuals have significantly cut back their political contributions, and one has not given again at all, FEC filings show.

Young, who retired that fall, said he sent a note to DeJoy this summer congratulating him upon being named postmaster general. DeJoy may have the skills needed to improve the agency, Young said. But the fundraising that permeated New Breed will remain a mark on his legacy there, he said, adding: “He had an agenda, and would take advantage of people.”

DeJoy never replied to his note, Young said. One of the last things he heard from anyone at New Breed came about a year after he left. Hauck, who by then was working with DeJoy at XPO, called and asked Young to donate to Tillis and other Republicans. “I said, ‘No, thank you.’ ”

DeJoy Pressured Workers to Donate to G.O.P. Candidates, Former Employees Say

Former employees at New Breed Logistics say they were expected to donate to candidates whom their executive, Louis DeJoy, was supporting, and would be rewarded through yearly bonuses.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major donor to President Trump and fund-raiser for the Republican Party, cultivated an environment at his former company that left employees feeling pressured to make donations to Republican candidates, and rewarded them with bonuses for doing so, according to former employees.

The arrangement was described by three former employees at New Breed Logistics, Mr. DeJoy’s former company, who said that workers would receive bonuses if they donated to candidates he supported, and that it was expected that managers would participate. A fourth employee confirmed that managers at the company were routinely solicited to make donations. The four former employees spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional retaliation.

The former employees did not say how explicit Mr. DeJoy was about linking the campaign contributions he was encouraging to the extra compensation, but three of them said it was widely believed that the bonuses were meant to reimburse the political donations, an allegation first reported by The Washington Post. Federal campaign finance law bars straw-donor schemes, in which an individual reimburses someone else to donate to a political campaign in order to skirt contribution limits. But it is legal to encourage employees to make donations, as Mr. DeJoy routinely did.

A review of campaign finance records shows that over a dozen management-level employees at New Breed would routinely donate to the same candidate on the same day, often writing checks for an identical amount of money. One day in October 2014, for example, 20 midlevel and senior officials at the company donated a total of $37,600 to the campaign of Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, who was running to unseat a Democratic incumbent. Each official wrote a check for either $2,600, the maximum allowable donation, or $1,000.

Similar patterns of donations — including to the Republican National Committee and every Republican presidential nominee from President George W. Bush to Mitt Romney — stretch back to 2003, campaign finance records show. Mr. DeJoy’s wife, Dr. Aldona Wos, was the vice chairwoman of Mr. Bush’s North Carolina fund-raising team, and Mr. Bush later appointed her to serve as the ambassador to Estonia. Mr. DeJoy, a Republican megadonor, served as the chief executive of New Breed from 1983 to 2014, until the company was sold to XPO Logistics.

Monty Hagler, a spokesman for Mr. DeJoy, said in a lengthy statement provided to The New York Times that the former New Breed executive “consistently provided family members and employees with various volunteer opportunities to get involved in activities that a family member or employee might feel was important or enjoyable to that individual.”

Mr. DeJoy “was never notified” of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, Mr. Hagler said, and “regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason.”

Mr. Hagler added that Mr. DeJoy had consulted with the former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission on election laws “to ensure that he, New Breed Logistics and any person affiliated with New Breed fully complied with any and all laws.”

At a hearing last month, Mr. DeJoy angrily denied a suggestion by Representative Jim Cooper, Democrat of Tennessee, that he had reimbursed his employees’ political donations.

“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it,” Mr. DeJoy responded. “What are you accusing me of?”

It is unclear how the arrangement was communicated to employees or how extensive it was. One former New Breed employee said he donated to a Republican candidate and never received a bonus, prompting him to never again make another donation. Two other employees, Dave Bell, a current vice president at XPO Logistics who started as a vice president at New Breed in 2010, and Edi Dirkes, a human resources manager at the company from 2007 to 2010, said they had never heard of the arrangement.

“No one ever approached me” to make any political contributions, Mr. Bell said in a brief interview.

Still, the revelations are likely to fuel further scrutiny of Mr. DeJoy, who is under fire for his continuing financial ties to a company that does business with the Postal Service and his previous work fund-raising for Republicans.

“These are very serious allegations that must be investigated immediately, independent of Donald Trump’s Justice Department,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said in a statement. “The North Carolina attorney general, an elected official who is independent of Donald Trump, is the right person to start this investigation.”

Josh Stein, North Carolina’s attorney general, said in a statement that “it is against the law to directly or indirectly reimburse someone for a political contribution” and that “any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities.”

Scrutiny of Mr. DeJoy began shortly after he took the helm of the Postal Service in June and began carrying out a series of cost-cutting steps that have led to slower and less reliable delivery as Mr. Trump has stepped up his attacks on voting by mail before the election in November.

Mr. Trump has assailed the money-losing Postal Service in recent months while falsely warning that voting by mail will lead to fraud and lost or stolen ballots. He has also cautioned that the practice could lead to long delays in determining a winner.

Mr. DeJoy has characterized those comments as “not helpful” and condemned the “false narrative” that he said was being promoted about both his intentions and the changes at the agency, which he has argued are necessary to shore up its financial health.

“I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” Mr. DeJoy told lawmakers last month, noting that he had committed to reversing many of the changes that have drawn the sharpest backlash.

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The legal lines Louis DeJoy’s alleged campaign contribution reimbursements may have crossed

Campaign finance laws are set up to prevent precisely what former employees of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy allege he did in a new Washington Post report: lean on employees to donate money to political candidates and then reimburse them for it using company money.

“There are a lot of things in campaign finance law you can get away with, a lot of gray area or places where the law is weak,” said Meredith McGehee, the executive director of Issue One, which advocates for stronger campaign finance laws. “This is one place where the law is clear and has been enforced.”

The law is clear, but it’s less certain whether DeJoy could face consequences. Let’s walk through specific ways this could be illegal and what, if anything, could happen to DeJoy.

First, here’s a summary of the allegations: Five people who worked at DeJoy’s former company, New Breed Logistics, told The Washington Post that they were encouraged to attend fundraisers DeJoy held and give thousands of dollars to GOP candidates. Two former employees said DeJoy engineered bonuses for these people that covered the cost of the donations, plus any taxes they would pay on their bonuses. Campaign finance records reviewed by The Post suggest that this could have gone on from about 2000 to 2014, when DeJoy sold the company.

DeJoy’s spokesman told the Post that DeJoy was not aware that any employees had felt pressured to make donations, but did not directly address the assertions that DeJoy reimbursed workers for making contributions. He pointed to a statement in which he said DeJoy “believes that he has always followed campaign fundraising laws and regulations.”.

Campaign finance experts say there are three federal laws these allegations seem to break, all of them serious.

1. Covering up the source of donations

The Post tallied up at least $1 million in donations to Republican candidates from New Breed employees when DeJoy headed the company. DeJoy, already a prolific Republican fundraiser, couldn’t legally give all that money to candidates’ campaigns himself because there are limits on how much one person can give. So he’s accused of obscuring his donations by having other people — employees who worked for him — write checks, and then paying them back through the company.

Experts say that’s a pretty straightforward case of masking where the donations are coming from to give more than is allowed. It’s also common in these cases for the money to be masked via bonuses.

“With the facts presented, it’s a run-of-the-mill but very illegal corporate straw donor scheme,” said Adav Noti, a former top lawyer with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and now with the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog.

“A wink and a nod to provide reimbursement crosses the [legal] line,” McGehee said.

2. Using corporate money to cover up these donations

Companies can’t give to political candidates. In fact, before the 2010 Citizens United case, they couldn’t give money to politicians at all. (Now they can contribute via political action committees.)

DeJoy’s company is accused of paying bonuses to employees who gave money directly to candidates since about 2000. That would be a clear violation of the most basic tenets of campaign finance law.

“Corporate contributions through bonuses and potentially coercing people to make this contribution are among the most serious violations of campaign finance laws,” said Lawrence Noble, a former general counsel for the FEC who is now with the Campaign Legal Center. “Because you are taking prohibited contributions from a corporation, and you’re funneling it through employees.”

In 2014, the former head of the Fiesta Bowl corporation was sentenced to eight months in prison for a scheme to have employees make political contributions and reimburse them with bonuses. In 2006, Freddie Mac had to pay nearly $4 million in fines for using corporate resources for political fundraising.

Noble said what stands out in the DeJoy allegations is how synchronized the donations-to-bonuses cycle is alleged to have been. “It’s rare to see it that blatant,” he said.

3. Potentially coercing employees to give

There’s a potential third allegation in the article, but it would be tough to prove based on what we know and the nature of the law. It can be difficult to know whether an employee was solicited or forced to donate. The former is legal in some cases and unethical in others; the latter is illegal.

The FEC has narrowed its definition of coercion over the years, making it even harder to pin that down, said Melanie Sloan with the government watchdog group American Oversight.

There is more leniency in the law for senior executives to be cajoled into giving, said Noti of the Campaign Legal Center. The law is stricter for rank-and-file employees.

A number of the New Breed Logistics employees quoted by The Post seem to be pretty senior. David Young, the company’s longtime human resources manager, said: “No one was ever forced to or lost a job because they didn’t, but if people contributed, their raises and their bonuses were bumped up to accommodate that.”

But another former employee told The Post that he thought his job or chance to move up was tied to giving, which experts said would be illegal. A former plant manager said his boss told him that donations to former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign were “highly recommended.”

“I took that to mean my job is on the line here, or things won’t go smooth for me here at New Breed if I didn’t contribute,” said the plant manager, Steve Moore.

Other people backed up Moore on feeling coerced to give. As The Post reports:

DeJoy and trusted aides at the company made clear that he wanted employees to support his endeavors — through emails inviting employees to fundraisers, follow-up calls and visits to staffers’ desks, many said.

“He would put pressure on the executives over each of the areas to go to their employees and give contributions,” one former employee said.

What could happen to DeJoy?

Chief executives have gone to federal prison for similar schemes, but that’s unlikely to happen to DeJoy, according to experts who spoke with The Fix. They gave us a few reasons for that.

The statute of limitations on federal campaign finance violations is five years. These donations seem to have petered out six years ago, according to Post reporting.

The federal agency that would open a civil investigation, the FEC, doesn’t have a quorum right now because of a lack of appointees.

DeJoy’s status as postmaster general during an election that will rely heavily on votes by mail may protect him. The Justice Department could open a criminal investigation. It has a long-standing policy of not opening election-related investigations this close to an election.

The allegations facing DeJoy also violate campaign finance laws in North Carolina, which is where New Breed was headquartered. There is no statute of limitations for felonies there. Josh Stein, the state’s Democratic attorney general, released a statement noting the story.

Several officials said any state investigation would start with the State Board of Elections, and could wind up in the hands of either the district attorney in Guilford County, Where New Breed was headquartered, or the district attorney in Wake County, where the SBE is located. The SBE has not yet commented publicly on the allegations.

At the very least, these allegations dump fuel on the political fire surrounding DeJoy, which started over suspicions that he is conducting Postal Service business in a way that benefits President Trump.


And here comes Thom Tillis…




U.S. Seeks to Provide Trump Defense in E. Jean Carroll Suit

Alt Headline:

Taxpayers Soon to Pay for President’s Defense in Rape Case

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to take over the defense of President Donald Trump in a defamation suit brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who claims Trump raped her two decades ago.

In a court filing Tuesday, the Justice Department said Trump was acting “within the scope” of his job as president when he said Carroll lied about the incident, prompting her lawsuit. The U.S. also moved the case to Manhattan federal court from a New York state court, where a judge last month denied his request to stall the suit.

The move could further delay a suit that was to soon have entered the evidence-gathering phase. Carroll is seeking to take the president’s deposition and force him to provide a DNA sample from a dress she claims she was wearing at the time of the alleged attack. It also comes as the Trump campaign has reportedly been facing a cash crunch due in part to its spending on legal fees in suits against the president.

Trump has been represented in the case by his longtime lawyer Marc Kasowitz.

“Because President Trump was acting within the scope of his office or employment at the time of the incident out of which the plaintiff’s claim arose, the United States will file a motion to substitute itself for President Trump in this action” for claims falling under the Federal Tort Claims Act, a Justice Department team led by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark.

The Federal Tort Claims Act provides for suits against the government.